The “In Between”

By Stephen Judd

Re-Published from the Phone-a-thon Appeal Letter…

Usually, I am appealing for help with a resident hall that needs a facelift, or a roof that is leaking…or a need that was caused by destruction to our campus.

Last year, I asked for financial gifts to be designated toward our food budget, as the costs were escalating and our population was growing. The response to this appeal was fantastic and also a tremendous blessing.

This year, I come to you with a practical need. Rather than asking for help with the renovation or repair of an existing building, I need your help with the construction of several small storage buildings for the children’s outdoor toys such as; bicycles, skateboards, rip sticks, basketballs, and baseball equipment.

I am sure you would agree with me that it is important for us to provide our children with recreational equipment items. Most of the children that come to the Mansion don’t even have suitable clothing, let alone toys of their own. In most cases, everything that they bring with them is in a small plastic bag. You can’t imagine the joy on their countenance when they are presented with a brand new bicycle or skateboard from a sponsor for their birthday or at Christmas.

The need that we have is for proper storage for these outdoor toys. This problem has existed for years, but we just haven’t had the extra funds to apply toward this project.

These storage buildings will enable us to make sure that outside toys are kept nice and are not exposed to the weather. These buildings will also insure that they cannot be stolen or damaged. We want to instill a sense of pride in these children and show them how to properly care for and maintain the belongings that have been given to them sacrificially by people that love them.

It is our plan that these small buildings will be well-built structures that will blend nicely with the aesthetics and style of the existing resident homes.

Will you help us?

As I sat in my office recently pondering what child to spotlight in this appeal, I began to reflect on stories that I heard as a child, and also read to my two girls when they were younger. The beginning of the stories would often begin with the words, “Once upon a time in a village far, far away, there lived…”, and many times concluded with, ”…and they lived happily ever after.”

As I thought about this, it struck me that although these beginning story lines were usually the same, it was the “in-between” that made the story unique, and laid the groundwork for the story’s finale.

As I pondered this, I began to think of the precious young people that come to us. Their beginnings are often the same. They are born into families that, although well intentioned, cannot take care of them for either financial or emotional deficits. As a result, these children are oftentimes neglected, abandoned and abused.

Our job and privilege at TCM is to provide the “in-between” storyline. We have always found that what happens from the time children arrive, until their departure, always affects their “happily ever after.”

Recently, a young man joined our Mansion family who was probably what some would consider a “lost cause.” He had recently been on drugs, and ran the streets because his mother would often put him out of the house when things deteriorated. She was unfit in every sense of the word, and when things got tough she usually sent him away to live with whoever would take him.

This young man lived on the streets for awhile and basically took care of himself. He got mixed up in the wrong crowd until he was placed in a group home for troubled young men. When the facility closed, he literally had no place to go.

Given his past circumstances and his present state of mind, this young man’s future did not look bright. His pastor appealed to the Mansion for placement and we were thrilled to take him.

Now comes the “in-between.”

Since his arrival, we have seen this precious young man flourish. He had always had a heart for God and tried desperately to attend church when he could, but he received no support from his family and often had no transportation. His life on the street had exposed him to harsh realities, but he desperately wanted to get back on track.

Now he is so happy to be able to attend church routinely and be with other young people that are also trying to live for God. He loves his residence hall and has bonded with several of the other young men in his age group. He is polite and caring and chats freely and respectfully with residents and staff.

I have no doubt that his experience here will equip him to break free from the cycle of neglect and drug abuse that was destroying his life. He now has a bright future as he gains the confidence and self-worth that will set the path for his “happily ever after.”

This is just one example, but every child that comes to us has a very unique and painful story. There are often situations that are so disturbing that we cannot share the details. But, the good news is that with your help and God’s guidance we are making a difference in these young lives. We are changing their destiny!

I know that this project for the much-needed storage buildings may not be as glamorous and sensational as some other appeals I have made in the past; however, just imagine the look on a child’s face when they see that their bicycle is missing or has been damaged by someone simply because there was not a safe place.

I am asking you to prayerfully consider helping us with this year’s phoneathon with a special love offering for the children. Please do what you can, and when we tally up the final total, I know we will have what we need to provide for these wonderful children.

If you would like, you can send in your phoneathon offering ahead of time. You don’t have to wait for our call. Just complete the enclosed form and return it in the envelope provided.

Again, thanks for your help in making our 2010 phoneathon a great success. I will be anxious to share with you in the near future how the Lord, through his people, provided the means to make this much needed appeal a reality.

Not only do we depend on your financial support, but I am also asking you to pray for us and this beloved institution. We need wisdom to deal with these heartbreaking situations. Pray that God will bring healing and hope through words that are spoken and the warm hugs given. This is our mission. Thank you for partnering with us!

To donate to this special appeal, go to…